Active Research

Learning from victims and survivors about what helps disclosure and responses to child sexual abuse

    • Disclosure of child sexual abuse
    • Needs of victims and survivors
    • Response to child sexual abuse
Research Topic areas 
  • Education
  • Government & policy responses
  • Regional, rural & remote
  • Therapeutic responses
Project Duration
Start: July 2023
End: November 2025
Geographical Scope
NSWQLDVIC
Populations
Victims and survivorsParents & caregiversWorkforce
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (26-65 years)Older adults (>65 years)
Gender
All genders

Project Lead

Associate Professor Lynne McPherson, Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University
Project lead email: lynne.mcpherson@scu.edu.au

Project Team

Professor Anne Graham, Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University
Associate Professor Kathomi Gatwiri, Southern Cross University
Darlene Rotumah, Gnibi College of Australian Indigenous Peoples, Southern Cross University
Dr Corina Modderman, Rural Health School, La Trobe University
Jaime Chubb, Centre Against Violence

Background

Historically, those with lived experience of child sexual abuse have not had a voice to improve responses to disclosure, raising urgent questions about how children, young people and adult victims and survivors are listened and responded to.

Aims

This co-designed project will collaborate with victims and survivors to learn about disclosure, the practices that help or hinder disclosure, and critically, what support is needed at the point of disclosure and beyond. Victims and survivors, their family members and professionals will be consulted to identify what works to improve responses, advancing the understanding of child sexual abuse disclosure processes, thereby improving service systems capacity to listen, hear and respond appropriately.

Methods

A four phased, mixed methods design will be utilised, including a policy and literature analysis, interviews with 50 young people and 10 adults who have experienced child sexual abuse, eight focus groups with adults who have responded to disclosure, and a survey of young victims and survivors, community members with experience as supporters following disclosure and professionals.

Significance and Dissemination

The participatory approach of this project engages victims and survivors, their supporters and professional practitioners to mobilise lived experience knowledge to co-produce communication tools, education campaigns and professional development to improve responses to children, young people and adults who have experienced child sexual abuse. The project will empower victims and survivors to raise concerns, disclose and seek help.

Further Details

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Funding body:
The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Funding budget:
$242,328 grant
Monitoring and governance:
This project is guided by oversight of the Project Advisory Group
Australian Human Research Ethics Committee:
This project is subject to ethical oversight by the Southern Cross University Human Research Ethics Committee
Understanding child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)

Graham Gee
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Prevention of child sexual abuse

Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program

James Ogloff
Swinburne University of Technology
Response to child sexual abuse

Evaluation of the Multi-Agency Investigation & Support Team

James Herbert
Centre for Social Impact - University of South Australia
David O'Shaughnessy
University of Western Australia

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Understanding child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
Reshaping the Conversation: Development of a shared language and preferred definitions guide endorsed by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
Child safe practices using contextual safeguarding strategies
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future
Delivering trauma-informed support for child sexual abuse victims in Victoria: mapping the knowledge gaps and training needs of the specialist sectors
Online child sexual victimisation and associated mental health outcomes
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Response to child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Evaluation of the Multi-Agency Investigation & Support Team
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
Effect of multi-agency deliberation on perceptions of risk in responses to child abuse and neglect
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Building trauma-responsive sexual health and relationship education
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Reshaping the Conversation: Development of a shared language and preferred definitions guide endorsed by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Australian Child Maltreatment Study
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
Child safe practices using contextual safeguarding strategies
Enhancing the capacity of rural and regional respectful relationship educators
Strengthening relationships and connections for young people in therapeutic residential care
The safeguarding capability of adults in Catholic Church ministries: a global perspective
Creating safer futures: raising public awareness of child sexual abuse among young adults through digital storytelling
Survivor perspectives on institutional use of child sexual abuse material
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future
Delivering trauma-informed support for child sexual abuse victims in Victoria: mapping the knowledge gaps and training needs of the specialist sectors
Online child sexual victimisation and associated mental health outcomes
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Needs of victims and survivors

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Evaluation of the Multi-Agency Investigation & Support Team
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Building trauma-responsive sexual health and relationship education
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley
Enhancing the capacity of rural and regional respectful relationship educators
Creating safer futures: raising public awareness of child sexual abuse among young adults through digital storytelling
Survivor perspectives on institutional use of child sexual abuse material
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future

Prevention of child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Australian Child Maltreatment Study
Strengthening relationships and connections for young people in therapeutic residential care
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Identification of child sexual abuse

The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
The safeguarding capability of adults in Catholic Church ministries: a global perspective

Disclosure of child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley